The majority of students at Mountain Vista monitor the news online and seek instant updates about what is going on around the world and at the school. Our website, vistanow.org, and social media platforms allow the program to instantly connect with the audience in order to share accurate information that it is our job as journalists to share. We developed comprehensive media packages to capture the stories of the school in a unique and effective manner and display them online.
Our coverage of school events on the web was especially important because it is always the most current body of work to be updated. Our newsmagazines and yearbook are not published every day, so all of our content passed through our website, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat accounts. In order to draw the readers in to our stories and reports, we utilized a variety of different methods of story telling and integrated each online platform with the others. When any audience member looks back on the history of our accounts, they are viewing the story of the school.
On multiple occasions throughout each year, the school experienced events that carried a profound impact on the school. When moments of this magnitude occurred, we organized the program into capturing every perspective of the students as the story developed.
The best example of our comprehensive, or “360-degree”, coverage was during the most recent Wish Week, a time when the school adopted a child from the Make-A-Wish Foundation in order to raise money to grant any wish they make. This year, Gabby was selected as our Wish Kid, and her wish was to be famous. We set about brainstorming different methods of sharing the story of the week as each day was marked off the calendar. Below are examples of the devices and platforms we used to capture the unity of the school as more than 2,000 students came together to support a single cause. The week was a chaos of collaboration, which was powerful for me to see as a journalist as an editor because of all the opportunities for staff members to cover meaningful stories as well as the power that I had the ability to convey with my work.
I took this video of Gabby being interviewed before the closing assembly for the week and shared it on the Vista Now Twitter Account.
The men’s varsity basketball game was a highly-anticipated event, and we organized the live-tweeting of the event on our account
View this post on Instagram
Gabby Kovach, the Wish Kid, gets her makeup done in order to prepare for the Wish Week assembly. “[My favorite part] is signing autographs because I like writing [them],” Gabby said. Student Leadership and Make-A-Wish Foundation organized a radio show, put on by theater students, and a rave, led by DJ Austin Pawelka, to grant Gabby’s wish to be famous. Photo by Gabe Barnard #mvwishweek #makegabbyfamous
I posted this photo of Gabby on the Vista Now Instagram account to share the story of Gabby’s preparation for the assembly.
Wish Week included a fundraiser at a local restaurant for dinner and lunch every day, so we assigned staff members to gather content for each location. On Friday, the fundraiser was held at Mod Pizza.
View this post on Instagram
Junior Cody King, escorted by seniors Ryan Nunes and Jake Stein, walks down the red carpet in place of Gabby during the halftime cheer of the boys varsity basketball game against ThunderRidge High School. “I was pretty excited,” King said. “I felt like I was doing something for a bigger purpose.” Gabby was unable to attend the game because of her health but left a message to share with the school thanking all of her fans for supporting her. Photo by Gabe Barnard #mvwishweek #makegabbyfamous
At halftime of the basketball game, our Wish Kid was unable to make it for the school cheer. A member of Student Leadership took her place.
This social media platform has become perhaps our most popular medium of delivering information to our audience. We updated students of the events throughout the day through our story, featuring images and captions that illustrated the emotions of the week.
On the website, we posted our usual photo gallery for each event to convey stories visually, but we also organized a “student of the day post” for each day of the week. My goal with this type of post was to zero in on the actions of one individual student at the school for one day on a small scale in order to provide a concept of the full scope of the week. Following the publishing of our content each day, we compiled important posts from the website and all social media platforms into a Storify slide show to organize the moments in one location for students to look back on.
The following are examples of our 360-degree coverage from one day, Friday. to view content for each day of the week, please visit the website.
On Friday, the day the school met Gabby, she served as our student of the day. The above post is an example I wrote for the staff from the beginning of the week about a member of Student Leadership greeting students at the door.
We posted three different photo galleries for this day’s assembly due to its length and distinct sections. This gallery tells the story of the moments before the assembly, when a few other editors and myself were granted access to Gabby’s makeup and autographing session.
Content which summarized the overall impact and meaning of the day was compiled into this post in chronological format for students to recount each moment.
Photographs are often the most powerful medium of telling a story for students at Vista due to the appealing nature of visuals, and our large size as a staff allowed us to take MV Media, and our audience, to every type of event at our school through the lens of our photographers. We attempted to capture as many moments as possible, if they were in the spotlight or out of it. Our next step was to publish our photos on the website with a description of the event to share the story of our subjects with the Vista community. Below are a few examples of the emotional stories contained in our photos.
I arrived at school a day earlier than the rest of my class this year to photograph the first day of incoming freshmen at the school as well as the leadership group, Link Crew, that made it happen. This was a meaningful opportunity because of the energy that the members of Link Crew emanated to the new students and the excitement it generated among the freshmen class, which was slightly apprehensive at first.
The most valuable part of this gallery was not the action photos that myself and other editors shot of our school’s team at the 5A state championship soccer game, but the emotions that came which the its victory. This type of culmination to a team’s season results in absolute excitement among the players. and it was incredibly meaningful to be able to document a moment that the players would remember for the rest of their lives.
After photographing every game of the varsity football team’s season and being able to tell the story of every player on the team, it was powerful to be a photojournalist for the last game of the season, senior night. The passion for the game and teammates that I was able to capture shared the story of how much the game of football meant to every senior as well as how much every senior meant to the juniors and sophomores that would be taking their place the next year.
The Stage Flight Theater program at our school put on “The Addams Family” musical, and I was able to freeze the moments in time when the passion of the actors for their role and talent was most clear.
News Stories and Opinion
Vistanow.org served as a location for students to catch up on what was happening at the school through reporting and news stories, and I sought out unique events that took place to share the story of the school. On a few occasions, I also used the website to publish opinion pieces about issues that mattered to the students so as to provide them with another perspective on the argument.
The science department always seemed to be up to interesting labs, and students took part in one such project that involved setting their favorite foods ablaze. With this story, I aimed to describe the excitement that the students felt about the lab but also the personal connection that it had to one student in the story. This connection, although small, provided the story with a human impact, something I strive to do with every piece of work I do as a journalist.
I wrote this opinion piece with a few other editors in response to the recent increase in the activity of the feminist movement after the election of President Donald Trump. The ideals supported by the movement were of great significance to the students and it was a strong journalistic opportunity to be able to take a stance on the issue.
Following the election of Student Body President Regan Lavallee, I knew that the students would be interested in getting to know the next leader as well as understand the ideas Lavallee presented for addressing any school issues and increasing student spirit. I wrote the following profile to share a little bit of her personality and history with the audience.
Covering the pieces of our world that carry personal interest to students is critical to maintaining an active audience for our program. Ranking high among these topics is professional and college-level sports, and I made sure to write on these kind of events to draw student attention to our website, provide them with reliable information on things they may be passionate about, and expose them to other content online. Occasionally, it is also important to publish pieces that build a connection with our audience so that they understand the people behind the news source as well as the amount of work that goes into publishing all of our content.
When March Madness rolls around, students rush to attempt to fill out brackets that accurately predict the result of the tournament. Following my own beat as a reporter as well as my personal interest, I published a few tips for students as they created their brackets.
As always, the Super Bowl was an event that captivated the attention of many high school students, and when the local team made its way to the ultimate competition, I published a prediction for the results of the game.
This piece was one I organized for all of the junior editors as we said goodbye to the seniors last year. The writing contained so much emotion because of how much we all appreciated the seniors for what they had taught us and the memories we made with them. My goal with this piece was not only to wish my role models a meaningful goodbye, but also illustrate to our audience the impact they had on the program.
More examples of web coverage can be found throughout my portfolio.